Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Britannia Hut from Saas Fee

Well before I do any posts on my recent holiday in Austria I thought I better complete the report of last year's fortnight in Zermatt.

On the Friday we left Zermatt and went around to the next valley and the small town of Saas Fee.  This was a trip organised by Inghams - they took a bus load of their Saas Fee guests round to Zermatt for the day and the bus took Zermatt people back to Saas Fee.

It was interesting listening to the conversation in the bus - people talking about the steep paths ( are in the Alps) or the expensive wine (get a 4 Euro bottle from the supermarket).

In Saas Fee we decided what to do - take a lift up and then walk across the glacier to the Britannia Hut.  It was a good choice and fantastic - ending up high in the mountains at the back of the Dom.  A superb day for it too.

And finally it was back to Zermatt....and as always the Matterhorn

Right, that was last stop Austria and Neustift.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Scald Law Gloom

Nothing special yesterday, but it was good to get an early morning blast  up Scald Law.  Walked up and ran down.  A nice 3 miles.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Sunset on the Irish Sea

This is the best place for a wind farm. Way out to sea. 

Catch up ...

I've been a long time away from the blog. Life has been dominated by my work delivering the European elections - long hours, loads of stress, petty conflicts. Things went pretty well in the end but there is little respite as on Monday it is 100 days until the Scottish Independence Referendum. That is an event generating such excitement and scrutiny that the pressures are huge. As for the Euros I am again responsible for Edinburgh .... and for much of the national coordination. 

No pressure there then. 

What of hills, mountains, fun?  


I'm still trying to get into the Pentlands each week and would love some big Highland days but I can't see much on the Horizon.   

We do have a week coming up in Austria, so that us something to look forward to. Hopefully some decent weather in the Tyrol.

Until then, the best photo on my phone:

Sunday, May 04, 2014


Just a quick circuit in the Pentlands this morning.  As usual walking the uphills and running the flats and downhills.  It was mild and dry, despite the forecast rain.  Even the mist over the city was starting to blow through.

Dunbar Harbour

Not much done yesterday.  Recovered from work.   Sorted out a new mobile phone.  Then drove out to Dunbar for a wander round.  I was looking to see where the new John Muir Way started and found the exact spot on the High Street.

This is a photo from the old fort at the Harbour, looking out towards Bass Rock and North Berwick Law.

The Isle of May was also visible out in the Firth.

Sunday, April 20, 2014


I had my usual walk/run in the Pentlands this morning, but didn't take many photos.  Had a good wander round the Botanics this afternoon though looking at the amazing display of flowers coming into bloom.

Beinn Chuirn

A rare day in the hills, with some great weather.

I'd had to go into the office on Friday, while the rest of the country was basking in wonderful spring sunshine.  It was good to see that the weather was due to hold for Saturday, so I was looking for something to do that would get a nice view while not being too far or too crowded.  I decided on the Corbett of Beinn Chuirn - it looked like it wouldn't be too tough and would give some great panorama from the top.

We parked at Tyndrum Lower station.  There was a good view behind to the Corbett of Beinn Odhar, the first o the Auch 5 that I still hope to tick off this year.   As we were getting ready to set off I chatted to a guy who was just getting back to his car after  spending some time on the hill with a metal detector.  I knew about the gold mine on this hill, but he told me of some old 18th century lead mines that sometimes give up some interesting bits and pieces.  He'd not found anything today though and was heading off somewhere else to pan for gold!

The forest road took us through cool trees with occasional glimpses over to the snow capped Ben More and Stob Binnein.

The track soon joined the one coming from Dalrigh, under the bulk of Ben Dubcraig.

Ben Lui, all corries and ridges, dominated the view to the west, with our Corbett to the right.  The track took us quickly to the farm buildings of Cononish.

We stayed on the track, noting where there was a locked gate on a road leading up to the gold mine in the side of this hill.

Ben Lui was getting bigger all the time, the snow caking it adding to its impact.

After a another kilometre or so, we went through a gate and then headed straight up the hill.  It was fairly steep initially, but we soon gained height and got some good views.

Catching a glimpse of a distant Ben Dorain
The ground was boggy in places, but you could usually avoid the worst of it.  Occasionally there were traces of a quad bike track, but it came and went.

Looking back to Ben More and Stob Binnein
There were lots of views to distract as we carried on up the hill

The Crainlarich hills
Ben Lui and Ben Oss, the Arrochar Alps behind
Once on the top the views were stunning and we spent 45 minutes or so, eating lunch and chatting with a guy that was already there.  We played name that mountain....and there were lots to recognise.

The Cruachan Range, above Loch Awe

Looking past the Black Mount hills, to Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis and the CMD arete

enjoying lunch

After a while we headed down, an easy trot down the grassy slopes.  Again, Ben Lui was stunning.
Beinn Chuirn
It was a good day.  Nice to be in the highlands again.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


I was down south at the weekend to visit my Mum.  On Saturday we went through to North Wales. In Conwy we bought another painting to hang on mum's bedroom wall, then we went to visit my brother in Colwyn Bay.

Conwy is always impressive - the castle looks just like a castle should - all walls and towers.

At the harbour this is the famous Smallest House in Wales or maybe even Great Britain.  .

Looking over the Harbour we could see Deganwy.  As a family we had lived there for 4 years, from when I was 2 until I was 6.    It is strange to be back there.  So many memories.  It is a place in which my Mum is happy.  She remembers good times there with my Dad.  Not just when they lived there, but later on when they would visit my brother.

I might as well also record that I had a run in the Pentlands on Friday before I went south.